Gastronomista is a design website that focuses on the culture of food and drink. And the creative genius behind it is Emily Arden Wells.
What was your inspiration to start a food blog?
I started Gastronomista in 2009 with a dear friend of mine, Jennifer Pelka. We originally used it as a method to share amazing things we found related to food and drink, and as a platform to highlight women doing amazing things in the food world. I have interviewed amazing female foodie film makers, artists, mixologists, spirit producers, and critical importers who have all positively influenced the food and beverage world, a notoriously male dominated profession.
Gastronomista has evolved into more of a drink resource as I have personally become more interested in cocktails and mixology, and have started creating my own recipes for the website. I love cocktail culture from vintage chrome martini shakers, to hand cast bottle openers, to innovative indie spirits, and I love celebrating that culture on Gastronomista.
What was the turning point for your blog? When did you realize it was successful?
There was a lot of great feedback from the beginning! The moment was the first time I handed someone I had recently met my card, and they said “Oh! I love this website”! The rest has been gravy: being featured in a national BlackBerry commercial to a Glamour Magazine feature!
What’s your personal advice about food blogging to new bloggers?
To quote Russell Simmons: “Do You”. Find an unique voice to present your original content in a beautiful and innovative way. Blogging is about creating! No one tells you that part.
What was your readers’ most favorite blog post? What do you think is the reason why the post got people’s attention?
The post is a side by side comparison of the paintings of Will Cotton and Katy Perry’s video for California Girls, which Cotton produced. I think it captured both Cotton’s vision for the video and the amazing ability to transcend between fantasy and reality (well, music video reality).
Where do you see food blogging in five years?
I hope there will be less re-posting and food porn, and more communication of ideas. My favorite blogs belong to creative people I respect and admire and are used to share ideas and test new concepts.
What’s the craziest recipe you ever cooked or baked? Why?
I’ve recently been getting into more technical cocktails: fat washes, dehydrated caviar, and fancy cocktail toys like smoking guns. I’ve really been enjoying smoked cocktails from a Smoked Old Fashioned to a Smoked Negroni. Yum!
What’s your favorite Restaurant? Why do you love it?
The Daily, New York City
The team at the Daily does a great job – there’s a different cocktail list every day with variations on classics. They are always welcoming and wonderful.
What’s their best dish you could recommend? Why?
The Negroni of the Day, Chick Pea Fries, and the Veggie Plate with Black Baba Ghanoush. Their burger is also pretty fantastic.
If you do not like a particular dish at your favorite restaurant, what will you do?
If it is inedible, I will send it back. If it’s something I personally do not like, it’s on me.
Name your favorite food blog and tell us why.
La Loving Cup by Gabriella Mlynarczyk, who is an incredible bartender in LA. She shares unique and creative cocktails with stories and beautiful photos.
Your favorite photo on the blog that you shot yourself. Why do you like it?
The Icelandic Martini with Reyka Vodka and Brooklyn Hemispherical Icelandic Bitters. I love the composition of our new crystal martini glasses that look mighty fine in the light.
If you could banish any food from the earth, what would it be? Why?
Premixed Sugary Cocktails. I recently had a bottled margarita on a plane that was the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.
What’s your food guilty pleasure? (Something you love to eat, but feel guilty right after)
Anything decadent and sweet. I feel less guilty when I drink my calories.
Another favorite photo on the blog that you shot yourself. Why do you like it?
Ice Hotel in Kiruna, Sweden. Last winter I traveled to the Ice Hotel via Dog Sled, ate reindeer and arctic char, slept on an ice block, and drank my body weight in Absolut Elyx. It was hands down one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had.
What’s the most exotic meal you’ve had?
King Crab Legs and Champers Apres Ski after a day of Heli Skiing, followed by and incredible meal of bison steaks and red wine.
What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with?
Salt & Citrus.
Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Why?
Anthony Bourdain – he’s all about seeing new things, promoting young talent, and sharing stories about real people making good food. Mind of a Chef on PBS is brilliant.